Lots of times an athlete will reach an amazing plateau and just shrug it off and pretend it wasn’t really a big deal.
Refreshingly, that isn’t the way Lansdale Catholic senior Shea Wassel reacted when she became the 17th player – and seventh female – in school history to score 1,000 career points on Jan. 20 in a 65-43 Catholic League basketball victory over John W. Hallahan.
“People used to joke about it as early as sophomore year, but it wasn’t until it got around 100 remaining that it entered my mind as to where and when it might happen,” said Wassel, a four-year starter and six-foot center whose apprenticeship commenced at Mary, Mother of the Redeemer grade school in North Wales. “Then when it got to 50 it began to be serious, and I started to look at the schedule.”
Wassel admitted that she heavily preferred to make history on LC’s home floor. Thanks in part to a Mother Nature-influenced cancellation the Crusaders’ only senior starter needed only six points against Hallahan.
“You wouldn’t believe how many scenarios went through my head about how it might happen,” Wassel said. “It was really packed with a great turnout. You couldn’t have planned it any better if you tried.”
After scoring four points early, the crowd was on its feet every time Wassel touched the ball. Finally, with 2:04 remaining in the first quarter, junior guard Kate Greenhalgh dribbled past a zone defense and found Wassell at the top of the key.
Wassel squared to the basket, dribbled down the right side of the lane, avoided a steal attempt, and successfully laid the ball off the glass and through the hoop.
“I thought we would jump up and down and then that would be it,” Wassel said.
Hardly. With the Crusaders ahead by 17-7, the game was halted and Wassel was mobbed by her teammates and likeable head coach Heather Glemser, who was teary-eyed when she said Wassel “deserves to have her name make history for what she has given to the program.”
As the announcement of what had just occurred blared in the background and her teammates and entire crowd stood in applause, Wassel hugged her mom Chris (whose maiden name is Shea) and dad Joe – both former high school players (Joe actually played college ball at George Washington University) – and younger sisters Bryn, Chase, Brady and Flynn, all of whom wore shirts that said, “I’m the sister of #33.”
Wassel also took off the final numbers from a countdown poster created weeks ago by LC senior and boys’ b-ballplayer Kyle Pagan.
“So many people shared in this,” Wassel said.
At school the next day, the celebrations continued. LC athletic director Jon Slabek presented Wassel with the net that caressed points 999 and 1,000 and told her she would also receive the basketball after her career is officially over.
Wassel said the mesh is currently lying on her dining room table next to a growing pile of newspaper clippings.
Time to make room for at least one more.
John Knebels can be reached at email@example.com.